Periodization is an organized approach to training that utilizes the progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period. It’s a way of alternating training to its peak during season. Periodization training works by dividing up a calendar year into smaller training periods. This method begins by building a fitness base, and gradually increases your fitness levels before settling into a new training period. This type of training involves changing up your workout at various intervals to prevent stagnation and plateaus.
Sometimes you have the best intentions regarding your workout, but find that your motivation has been lost or no matter how hard or how often you work out you just can’t seem to progress any further. The “world’s greatest workout” – something you often read about in almost every magazine or webpage – actually isn’t so great in the long term. It turns out that your body has actually adapted to it, and you stop seeing results. This is called a plateau. If you want to break out of your plateau, you need to change the frequency or intensity of your routine.
In essence, you need to “shock” or “surprise” your body a bit, and give it a new challenge periodically if you’re going to continue to make physical and mental gains. Planning your workout ahead of time also helps you to anticipate the effects on future workouts – how will Monday’s run positively affect Tuesday’s run?
Instead of doing the same routine month after month, use periodization training. You’ll change your training program at regular intervals or “periods” to keep your body working harder, while still giving it adequate rest. Examples of periodization in your fitness routines include:
- What exercises you do, and in which order you perform them
- How fast you perform each exercise
- The number of sets per exercise
- The number of repetitions per set
- How long you rest between sets, exercises or even training days
By changing these variables in regular increments throughout your training year, you'll force your muscles to constantly adapt. If you don't allow them to adapt to one type of movement, you'll continue to make fitness gains and see continuous results!